Cat ownership is not all rainbows and butterflies – our feline friends come with their own set of claws after all! And, as with anything in life, nothing is ever perfect – however wonderful it may be!
That being said, it’s my firm opinion, especially after having gone through the exercise of writing out these two separate pro and con lists, that the cons in the cat ownership category are easy to deal with and quite expected, while the pros are life changing and indeed quite a bit like a common, everyday sort of magic.
I wrote out the pro and con lists in this article well before I went in to try and write this intro. I somehow managed to, without even trying, come up with exactly 10 distinct pros, and 10 distinct cons of owning a cat before taking a pause. So while I’m sure if I sat here for another 10 minutes (yes, this is turning into a very repetitive and possibly annoying theme), I’m sure I could come up with some more ideas for each list, I think I’ll leave each at simply 10, and hopefully you already-cat-owners reading this can fill in some of the spots I missed out highlighting down in the comments section below.
There certainly is no easier way to help you see a decision more clearly than writing out a pro and con list. Here’s one from a cat owner of 4 years who’s well on the other end of that decision.
With as little sugarcoating as I could manage..
The Pros & Cons of Owning a Cat: Helping You Decide Whether To Adopt
10 Pros of Cat Ownership
1. You have a cat.
A cuddly, pretty little thing to have and to hold from the day you adopt it forward until death do you part. Sound like marriage? It is a little! Sure is a commitment. Though it’s much more like adopting a tiny furry child. There are so many reasons people love cats, it’s hard not to list having one as a standalone pro!
2. Your home will never be or feel completely empty again.
You may think this is an absolutely bonkers thing to be listing as #2, but it’s one of the main reasons I don’t think I could ever live without a cat in my life again. There’s just something so nice about coming home to someone or something, and yes, that feeling is there even if who you’re coming home to is a kitty and not a human.
3. A cat will make you a happier person.
If there were many people miserable after taking in a cat, you’d probably hear a lot more about it. Sure, there are some difficult aspects of cat ownership (which we’ll obviously get to later), but the question about whether to adopt a cat usually comes down to whether how happy a cat makes you will outweigh any cons. Whether it’s to have some company, some cuddles, someone who will listen and be there for you even though they don’t understand a word out of your mouth – there’s no doubt in my mind that cats make you a happier person, and even become your family in the long run.
4. You will never run out of cute pictures to post on social media again.
Seriously, we all know how photogenic cats are, so if you’re thinking of taking in a cat, be ready for your phone and your social accounts to be completely littered with pictures of your new feline. Might your stream lead some “dog” people to roll their eyes – sure, but what’s important is all those cat people following you who will become obsessed with the photos in your stream, because let’s be honest, while there are plenty of cat pictures online already, nothing beats getting to know yet another kitty cat through posts to on social media.
5. You get a pet who’s likely to love you a lot more than he or she likes other humans.
Cats seem to imprint on their people quite well and will really ignore or even disdain other humans who pass through their house or lives – people they either just aren’t used to or don’t happen to mesh with. This “I prefer you over other humans” attitude cats have toward their people is very unlike the typical dog attitude to other people. Dogs seem happy to see any person who isn’t deemed a threat! Not going to lie, I prefer the cat way a little better – love the exclusivity feeling you get, being one of the only people a cat shows affection to!
Picture from post This One
6. Cats are low maintenance.
Thomas and I had a ball python before we had Avery. Quite frankly, snakes are one of the lowest maintenance pets in all the land – I think cats are only a smidgen more maintenance than a snake. And that’s pretty impressive considering cats are much larger creatures, need a lot more feeding, go to the bathroom more often, and have free roam over the whole house! But at least I don’t have to go to the trouble of warming up frozen rats to feed my pet nowadays. Talk about pros & cons, eh?
7. If you want multiple pets in the future, getting a second, third, or fourth cat is nearly zero extra work.
You’re already cleaning litter boxes, refilling bowls of water and food, and playing with your cat once a day to make sure he or she gets their prey game on and their exercise in. Add cats #2, 3, and 4 in and, really, what’s the difference?
8. You don’t need a big apartment or house to make your cat happy.
Thomas and I actually live and work full time from our studio flat, which we obviously share with our cat Avery. Is it enough space for all of us? Heck yes. It’s not easier to live in a small space with a cat than it is to live in a lovely enormous house, but you can still make it work, and work really well. Here are tips on keeping indoor cats happy in small apartments. In case that’s one of the things holding you back, my advice to you: don’t let it. I know I would have if I didn’t realize how easy it was to make a small space feel big to a kitty.
9. Cat sitters are easier to find than dog sitters. And your cats won’t mind your vacations as much.
It doesn’t matter if your friends aren’t really cat people, if you need someone to pop in and drop off some food and play with your cat for a few hours each day over a long weekend, you’ll find someone easily. Cats just aren’t very much work to take care of, especially by comparison to dogs who will essentially have to be temporarily re-homed, walked at least twice a day, picked up after on walks, and all that jazz, if you happen to go away. And let’s be honest, a cat’s independence means it’s not so painful to leave a kitty for a little vacation. With dogs, it feels a bit mean to do so because of how attached they are to your companionship.
10. Cats are wicked entertaining at times. And can be pretty funny to have around.
They have seriously odd, quirky behaviours that are so stinkin’ cute, it’s hard not to be amused. Sometimes it feels like there’s a set of secret rules they all live by that includes things like refusing to let a door be closed or having to try to sit in cardboard boxes that are lying around, even if they look like they might be just a bit too tight. And then there are individual cats’ huge purrsunalities quirks – I listed a few of my Avery’s personality quirks here in case you’re interested in reading a little about what I’m talking about.
10 Cons of Cat Ownership
1. There will be fur everywhere in your home forever.
Spoke about this in my article titled “The Unspoken Suffering of Cat Owners Everywhere.” It doesn’t matter how clean and tidy you are, how much you vacuum or sweep, or how often you brush your pet. The war against pet fur is never one we as humans can win. Yes, we may win a battle or two, but it’s physically impossible for us to win the war. Cats are like little fur-creation machines. You just cannot beat that level of fluff-making.
Develop a love for hugging your cat? You’ll find a new appreciation for greys over blacks when it comes to picking out clothing, and a garment being made in a fabric that doesn’t attract cat fur will suddenly become a huge selling point.
2. Cats aren’t free to keep.
Cat food costs money, cat litter costs money, litter boxes, toys, and other cat “stuff” isn’t free. Specialty cat food in case your cat needs it is expensive, pet medication can be pretty expensive, surgeries (if your cat ever needs them) most certainly are expensive; you get the picture. All in all, cats are definitely not the most expensive pet to have. They don’t eat all that much, and litter is honestly a pretty cheap staple, even as far as more expensive options go. But they’re still pets, and pets are not free to keep, or else my guess is a lot more of us would have them, and have more of them per household. Nothing new or surprising here, though!
3. Your cat may not do what you want.
You want cuddles right now? Want your cat to stop jumping up on counters? Want your cat to get into that darn carrier because you’re late already for your appointment at the vet? Sorry, you’re going to have to train your cat to be more snuggly, not to jump up on counters, and to be more comfortable in his or her carrier. And that takes time, energy, and some effort as well. Even then, with all the training possible, a cat is going to be way more fickle, opinionated, and have a more sassy I’ll-do-whatever-I-want attitude toward you than any dog, who will eventually be trained to listen to your every command. Though there’s usually a fix (a bribe – cat food!). Usually then kitty’s open to suggestions on what types of behavioural changes you want made.
4. You may have to deal with unpleasant bathroom problems once in a blue moon.
Litter may regularly be trailed out of the box (cat paws are notoriously good at dragging out litter), increasing sweeping and vacuuming you have to do. You may end up with a cat who doesn’t drink enough, and thus ends up with a UTI or two (when this happens to cats, they will sometimes pee in odd places like on the kitchen floor or a bathtub – because it’s cooler and smoother than their litter box). You may end up with a cat whose #2 sticks to his or her butt once in a blue moon, doesn’t patiently wait to be done while in the litter box, and thus jumps out and scoots (drags his or her behind) across your lovely floors to get the remainder of his or her #2 off. In all these situations, the cleaning is not fun. Totally manageable and rarely do situations like these happen, but they do once in a long while and, again, it is no fun to have to deal with. Definitely one item on this list I probably would never have known about cat ownership before taking in a cat myself.
5. You may have to infrequently deal with unpleasant vomiting issues.
From hairballs (which my cat has luckily never thrown up!), to intestinal issues, to upset stomachs over a food not going over well, there can sometimes be vomiting issues with cats, though in my experience they are rare, few, and far between. It still happens, though, even to Avery once in a long while, and if you have carpets or rugs everywhere, this can be pretty annoying to clean up. You can 100% tell when a cat is getting ready to vomit, however, because they physically start heaving to get what’s in them out, so I always take the opportunity to gently pick up and move my cat to tile, laminate, or wood surfaces. Be sure to keep an eye on a cat that’s thrown up, however, as sometimes, they restart not having realized they weren’t quite done. Wait around 5 minutes after their first set of heavings to make sure they’ve not got more vomiting action in them. Speaking of which..
6. Your pet will sometimes get sick. This will suck. A lot.
Your pet getting sick will often make you feel terrible. Obviously, we know pets get sick, humans get sick, everything gets sick every once in a while, but it still has to be listed as a con, especially for cases where your pet may happen to get really sick. Vet bills can be incredibly expensive for some issues, surgeries are expensive if they need to happen. On top of that, you won’t want to see your pet in pain if there is pain associated with whatever he or she is going through. You’ll end up in situations you won’t even remotely near know how to fix, though luckily now it’s easy to Google problems which will help you figure things out. Sometimes, medicine and scientific knowledge about the ailments your cats will go through won’t always have a clear or perfect answer, which is frustrating. But we don’t yet know all the facts about human health, let alone pet health. At the end of the day, we know that our pets cannot live forever, but that knowledge won’t stop you from feeling your heart has been torn in two when that sorry day finally comes. Again, nothing surprising about these facts, just that they’re certainly big cons that need to be on lists like these. Onto a lighter note, however:
7. Cleaning a litter box isn’t the most fun thing on earth.
Extra chores are extra chores, and while it’s not much work, and certainly not hard to do, you still do have to clean your cat’s litter box regularly. And refill water. And put out cat food. Luckily, more and more automatic/self-cleaning cat litter boxes are coming out on the market. Some litter boxes are also a lot easier to clean than others, especially when you mix them with great clumping litter like World’s Best Cat Litter, which I currently use (reviewed here). But you still have extra chores when you have pets, no matter how much easier useful pet products make doing these chores.
8. You need to play with kitty, and sometimes kitty just doesn’t want to play.
This is a problem not many cat owners have, but since my cat Avery is so stinkin’ lazy, it’s one that’s near and dear to my heart. It can be really frustrating have a cat that wants to play, but doesn’t engage when you try. That being said I have met zero cats in person who are as disinterested by toys as mine. Everyone who meets Avery is actually quite surprised at how little he really cares about playing. #Struggles. And could happen to you if you adopt a lazy cat!
9. Cats sometimes scratch furniture.
I don’t think this is at all a big deal, but that’s because it’s actually so easy to train your cat to not scratch on furniture like couches. It happens, however. Though if you do end up getting a cat and your cat likes taking his or her claws to your sofa, just come right back to this site and check in on my guide; you’ll be fine.
10. Cats can be really whiny.
This can be annoying when the crying is meant to wake you up in the morning, when there’s a lot of begging going on throughout the entire day, and while you’re working or trying to concentrate on something. But usually, this whiny behaviour can be trained out of a cat, because I’ll be honest, in most cases where cats are crying, if it’s not a health issue (which it’s usually not), it’s likely your cat cries because you accidentally trained your cat to beg for food through whining, and yes, this behaviour can actually be trained out of them.
What Pros & Cons To Having a Cat Did I Leave Out?
Can you think of any pros and cons of having a cat that may have slipped my mind and really should have been added to these lists? Can you think of any specific pros or cons that have to do with personality quirks your own cats have? I’m sure anything you can add to the above would help potential cat owners decide whether it’s right for them to adopt!
Any advice for future cat owners (since they’re the ones most likely to be reading an article like this? Also leave them in the comments down below!
And if you read this as a to-be cat owner and have been swayed or budged a little one way or another, let me know! Would also love to hear if any of the above points surprised you, or shed some light on cat ownership aspects you didn’t know were an issue.